WEEK 2 – DONA LOLA RESORT, SITIO DE CALAHONDA PART 2

Monday is the day we do the Calahonda to La Cala walkway! My knee is holding up so we’re ready to go! Unfortunately the walkway isn’t complete all along the coast as Macdonalds have apparently been holding up the building of the bit by Dona Lola so we have to walk along the main road towards Max Beach bar and restaurant (although we did realise later there was a closer place to pick it up!).

The walk is amazing, you see bits of the coastal residential and holiday home areas and chirringuitos you wouldn’t even know were there if you didn’t stay in the places close to them. A lot of people don’t seem to stop and take time to see what’s going on out to sea but we stopped every so often to look at the rock pools and the bird life. It was really hot so we had plenty of water with us and I was wearing my new Skechers Memory foam trainers so it felt like I was walking on a cushion! LOL! We started out wondering if we could do the walk its around 5km but we did it and reached La Cala from a direction that we’d never seen before and saw some really nice villas right on the beach.

P1040714 P1040713 P1040712 P1040710 P1040708We walked into La Cala and stopped at a little pizzeria next to a restaurant where we always used to eat but it had changed! It always felt homely before and they had a cat that would visit all the tables. Now it is white and very modern called El Turreon. The place we ate next to it seemed quite reasonably priced for paninis so we ordered one each and it turned out it was only a half of one each! Still, it was ok (had a lot better) and we decided if we came again we would eat at El Turreon.

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OMG! You can see the gap where my tooth broke! No more smiling for me LOL!
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Waiting for lunch in La Cala.

Had a short walk around the town and then back along the walk way to Dona Lola. So glad my Ultrasun was working well, it was so hot. I did start to flag a bit when we almost got back to Dona Lola and realised that I’d probably had too much sun, despite all the fluids and the sun hat!

Back at the apartment as we opened the door, in scurried a 2½” cockroach, zapped it with the spray and stuck it down the loo. Can’t stand the things but luckily they don’t scare me!

Decided to eat over at Meson de Calahonda at El Zoco, I follow them on Facebook and am Facebook friends with Rafael and Manuel who run it, so was really interested to see if it lived up to the recommendations on Trip Advisor and Facebook. Well all I can say is ……. what a fantastic place! I didn’t introduce myself to Rafael, he was extremely busy but he did look as if he thought he recognised me from my Facebook photo! John decided to have the sea bass in almond sauce as he doesn’t usually have fish when we eat out and I had the grilled turbot, all washed down with a jug of sangria followed by coffee and a liquer. The food was exceptional and we decided to book for the night of our anniversary on the Thursday, which we did before we left the restaurant. We could see it was really popular with lots of people who were obviously regulars coming in and out and booking for other nights too. When we paid the bill we were given a shot of caramel vodka! Well the ones I’ve had in the past were very synthetic tasting,  but this one was delish! Will need to buy a bottle! After our lovely meal it was back to Oscars for a night cap and another lovely chat with Jay and Lisa & Dave then back to the apartment tired and happy.

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Grilled Turbot – my main course
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Creme Caramel (Flan) – my dessert
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John’s almond tarte dessert
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John’s Sea bass in almond sauce

WEEK 1 – MacDonald’s Timeshare resort – La Ermita, Mijas Pueblo – Part 4

Friday – So our last official day! Easy morning packing and sorting then off to Fuengirola to the Bioparc (zoo) for our usual pilgrimage ;). I love the zoo, its so small and compact but so much to see. The animals are so well kept and in such beautiful surroundings, you wouldn’t believe its in the middle of a town. Had a fright though, when we left the apartment to go to the underground garage we couldn’t find the car! OMG! We thought it had been stolen and couldn’t understand it, then we realised we were on the wrong floor! Doh! Talk about a senior moment!

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So tonight is our last night here, we have had such a wonderful week and can’t believe that we’ve never stayed in the Pueblo before. Our last night was extra special because we went back to the Secret Garden. This time we had a lovely table in a beautiful corner of the garden,. John ordered the pork fillet with Serrano ham and Malaga wine sauce and I had the slow cooked pigs cheeks! Oh my, talk about melt in the mouth such a delight. Shared cheesecake for dessert and then I had a Baileys coffee and John had a Café Bonbon made with condensed milk! A wonderful end to a wonderful stay. Tomorrow Calahonda beckons!

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John's pork fillet wrapped in Serrano Ham with Malaga wine & plum sauce - delish!
John’s pork fillet wrapped in Serrano Ham with Malaga wine & plum sauce – delish!
My slow cooked pork cheeks - melt in the mouth!
My slow cooked pork cheeks – melt in the mouth!

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WEEK 1 – MacDonald’s Timeshare resort – La Ermita, Mijas Pueblo – Part 3

Wednesday – After the excitement of last night we woke up to another wonderfully sunny and warm day. It was definitely very hot on the balcony and my Ultrasun SPF 50 once a day was certainly working hard.

Ultrasun protection all the way
Ultrasun protection all the way

We had heard about some cave houses so in the afternoon we decided to go for another walk around the Pueblo (getting our bearings now!) and try to find another museum that John had read about. Before the walk though we went to Mayan Monkey to do a chocolate bar workshop and made our own 3 bars of chocolate each! If you are ever in Mijas do go and try their ice cream, its to die for!

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John’s chocolate making – can’t find pic of my effort but it wasn’t so neat lol!
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Trainee Chocolatiers! Get the hair nets!

So, we went off on our walk whilst the chocolate set.

Mijas Pueblo is such beautiful place, here’s a few more shots of the back streets! Note inone of them there is a very old man walking down a very steep hill. The only time we saw mobility scooters they were being ridden by Brits, the elderly Spanish use their sticks and rollators and don’t seem to want to invest in them.

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Realised on our last day that this was where the cave houses were (we just couldn't see them!)
Realised on our last day that this was where the cave houses were (we just couldn’t see them!)
Old man walking down the steep hill.
Old man walking down the steep hill.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find either of the places John wanted to see, but found the Secret Garden Café where we had a cool drink and decided to go back that night for a meal. Back to the Mayan Monkey to pick up our chocolate and to have another ice cream! Any excuse! Got chatting to one of the staff who’s grandparents own a timeshare at MacDonald’s Leila Playa so I gave him details of the Owners Against Group as they want to get out of their week

And so to the evening! I can’t praise the restaurant, The Secret Garden, highly enough The food, is brilliant, the staff amazing, the value excellent and the place itself – heaven! We had a voucher for a free bottle of wine too and it was great wine!At the front it looks like any other bar/restaurant, go through the bar and the indoor patio and out into a huge garden with trees, canopies and lighting which makes you feel like you are stepping into fairyland. They even provide fleece blankets in case there’s chill in the air! This was one of the best meals we have had in Spain and we felt as if we were in a truly magical place. So much so, we booked again for Friday night!

Cheers from the Secret Garden
Cheers from the Secret Garden
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Our free bottle of red wine! Excellent!
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Best fish stew I’ve ever had!
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The Secret Garden – magical
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Wonderful night!

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WEEK 1 – MacDonald’s Timeshare resort – La Ermita, Mijas Pueblo – Part 2

Monday -Thinking of the grandkids today, Katie goes back to school in year 1 and Charlie has his first day in reception! Feels strange being so far away on such an important day for them 😦

The mornings in Spain seem a lot darker than in the UK at this time of year, even allowing for the added 1hr, and with the curtains closed its easy to think its earlier than it is! Got up around 9am to grey skies and damp,  we hoped it would clear like it did on Sunday but we were in and out of cloud until the afternoon so we stayed in the apartment and went to the indoor pool for a swim and then despite the weather we had to go and get some supplies!

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Indoor pool at La Ermita

Waiting for the cloud to clear was fascinating! I sat on the balcony watching the clouds rise from sea level up the mountain and hide the tops of the mountain and the valley below. Nature is wonderful!2015-09-07 09.23.08After lunch we found the local Eroski supermarket and although I used my limited Spanish to ask for the ham and cheese we needed, “Dos cientos grammas, pour favour”, the guy on the deli counter just smiled and ignored it and gave me 6 slices instead of the weight I wanted lol! Wasn’t sure how to correct him so just smiled back and took it! We had another walk around the Pueblo to see the children’s parade, as we weren’t sure of the route we didn’t get a particularly good view but in any event it wasn’t as good as the one I saw last year in Tenerife! But as usual the Spanish all joined in and there was lots of music and dancing and people just got involved, you couldn’t help but join in. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any stills and my videos are a bit wobbly lol!

Lights ready for Feria
Lights ready for the Feria

Later in the evening our walk took us to Bar Carmen, a local tapas bar for some nice tapas of squid and fish and albondigas with Russian salad, and a free drink. It must be good because all the other people (except one table) were Spanish! Love to mix with the locals when we’re away. When we had finished we took another walk around the feria and ended up in the Muralla – a walled square where there was a concert with a group called  ‘A Compas’ who do the rounds of the local Ferias and get the audiences all up and dancing, they were brilliant! They have a facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/A-Compas-Musical-267394626672397/timeline/?ref=ts There was also the crowning of the King and Queen of the Feria who were chosen from a group of young people from Mijas who took part in a fashion show during the evening. Was hoping to get some video of them uploaded but can’t do unless we upload to You Tube first so may add them later. It was great fun, the drinks were cheap and there was a couple from a local sherry producer giving out free sherries – would’ve been rude not to have one or two LOL! Standing room only because all the tables were taken by the proud families of the young people taking part in the competition and we finally got to bed around 2.45am very tired but very happy to have been part of it.

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WEEK 1 – MacDonald’s Timeshare resort – La Ermita, Mijas Pueblo

Saturday 5 September 2015

Getting up at 2.30am to go to the airport, don’t you just love early starts! Our friend Dave took us  and checked in on-line 24hrs before so boarding passes on our phones and when we got to the airport we printed off our own bag tags and took them to the bag drop. It all went really smoothly, was already liking the BA effect! Take off was at 6.50am and we sat back and enjoyed the flight with a nice breakfast brioche and muesli yoghurt etc. Excellent seats (leather and nice and wide!) and quite comfy. After an uneventful flight we touched down at Malaga Airport and our holiday began, there was supposed to be a baggage handlers’ strike but if there was, it didn’t affect us and we got through quite quickly.

We made our way to the pick up area and took the mini bus to the Helle Hollis depot to pick up our Opel Corsa Turbo car, it was a great little car and was so much better than the Skoda we had last time. It really impressed John LOL! Driving up towards Mijas Pueblo was an experience though as the sat nav took us up a windy route but it was all part of the holiday and gave me (at least) the chance to savour the views of the coast as we got higher and higher and started to recognise places along the way.

We had exchanged our last timeshare week into La Ermita which is owned  MacDonald’s Leisure Resorts and is set on the side of the mountain with stunning views over Fuengirola and beyond. Although we had exchanged into one apartment (no.8), as we didn’t own with MacDonald’s,  we were allocated another one (no.25), but it was nice and with great views so we were happy. Wifi was €19.95 per week and we did pay for it because we weren’t sure of the Wifi available in bars in the Pueblo and the first day weather was a bit suspect so thinking we may spend a lot of time in the apartment we decided it would be worth it. We wouldn’t normally pay that much for wifi as its a bit of a rip off but in the end they didn’t charge us for it!

 

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Why are we waiting?
John waiting to be served!
John waiting to be served!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday afternoon the weather began to brighten up, so we had a walk around the Pueblo to get our bearings and see what was going on, but we mainly chilled (after an early start to get the flight we were very tired!) and so we had lunch in the La Ermita restaurant. Big mistake! Although the tapas we had been nice, the service was appalling! 45 mins to get served, and being Brits we didn’t complain! We didn’t see many other people there for lunch but as it was changeover day we weren’t surprised.

As we were exhausted we decided to eat in the resort again in the evening. Another big mistake! We sat down at a table on the balcony and waited to be served After a little while we could hear the people on the table by us complaining that the food wasn’t quite what they ordered and was cold, the waitress had no idea about what the menu was so it was no wonder their order was confused! John ordered a special burger and fries and I ordered a goats cheese and ham pizza. 35 mins later it arrived, so burned on the bottom that it was charcoal! I complained to the waitress who said she would get me a new one. I wasn’t prepared to wait again for food so said I would share John’s fries, I would’ve played the diabetic card but decided against it. They did apologise and gave me a free Malibu and cola light which was something but it certainly put us off eating there again.

Weightloss, Crafting and Life as a Senior Citizen

So where do I start this time? Lots of things I want to say and yet I don’t want to ramble on (like I’m prone to!) and I don’t want to bore people (been known to do that too LOL!). Right, I’ll do it in the order of the title of this blog!

WEIGHTLOSS

I’ve been fighting my weight for many years, basically, I’m a piglet – I eat too much and exercise too little. Make no bones about it, I’ve used lots of excuses in my time for not losing weight and none of them are good ones. “Oh, I’m big-boned”, “I’m not meant to be slim”, “I do eat properly” and many more.

Even though my mum was diabetic and my sister is diabetic, I had always been very complacent about the fact that I was glucose intolerant and yo-yo dieted for years, so that I could go to see my GP at various times and be lighter, only to put it all back on again. So when he told me in December 2011 that I was now diabetic, I wasn’t shocked or depressed, just disappointed with myself that I’d not lost the weight and tried to avoid it.

Following my diagnosis I lost nearly 2 stone, my diabetic nurse and my sleep clinic (I have sleep apnoea – that’s another story!) were so pleased with me. I felt amazing and promised myself I would keep it off and would get fit. Apart from being scared of flabby, loose skin (still am!) I was determined to keep on a healthy way of life.

I should never promise to be good! June 2012 went to Tenerife with my friend Annie (also diabetic). We ate healthily and walked and swam a lot and I still came home 7lb heavier! No idea how (well might have been the odd cocktail we had in the evening) but there it was, the scales don’t lie! Instead of knuckling under I became complacent again. My blood glucose, blood pressure and my cholesterol were all under control with my medication and I just let things slip.

So here we are October 2013 and I’m back trying to shift the weight. I now have 4 beautiful grandchildren who I want to be able to see grow up and so I’m trying again. No promises, no deadlines just adjusting what I eat and trying to move about a lot more.

My holiday on the Costa Del Sol was a success as I actually lost 1lb! So now aiming to get fit for mine and Annie’s Tenerife trip in March 2014.

Lots of people are trying the 5:2 diet – starve 2 days eat “normally” 5 days. Not something that I like to do as I need to eat regular meals. Some people are doing the very low carb or low carb diets which people keep saying that this is a diet that diabetics should follow as carbs turn into glucose in the body and that’s what we need to control. I’ve looked at that way of eating and although I can see for some people it will work, for me I know it won’t! How do I know that? Well, diabetics are more likely to suffer from heart conditions and kidney problems and I know that if I eat too much protein I get very bad tummy cramps, if I eat too much fat (another thing low carbers say you should increase) it goes straight through me (sorry TMI!). Also, I worry about kidney function and having had one result that said I had protein in my urine, I really don’t want to increase my intake.

So, what am I doing? Well, I’ve started to log everything I eat on www.weightlossresources.co.uk. It’s a great dieting website and for a lot less than you pay for Weight Watchers and Slimming World, you can have lots of online support and information. Logging what I eat is really helpful for me, as it makes me concentrate on what I’m putting into my body. I also log any exercise, and that can be as little at gardening, walking to the shops or a long walk in the country, swimming or whatever. It also shows me how many calories I’m eating, how many carbs, fat and protein etc.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to lower my carb intake to 160g per day and 1600 cals a day and so since Monday 13 October, this is just what I’ve done and so far so good, weigh in next Monday. Won’t post my weight, just my losses and hopefully it will help me to keep going by blogging about it.

So my first loss (14-21 October) is 4lbs! So pleased, except when I told John this morning he said “Don’t know how, you’ve not done any exercise!” I was very hurt but he later apologised, lucky for him LOL! I’m usually very placid but a tiger when pushed and I certainly bared my teeth today LOL!

CRAFTING

My hobby is cardmaking and papercraft. I’m not the best at it and I’m a very messy crafter but I’ve been doing it for over 10 years and I love it. I’ve got two really good friends (Annie and Jayne) who I craft with and my sister Julie also likes to craft (when she gets the time). It’s so relaxing and although I’m not artistic in any way, I find that I can make some very pretty and interesting cards.

I’m going to start posting some of my pictures of the cards I’ve done so that you can see, I’ll also post some of the wonderful cards that my friends have sent me over the years. It’s not a cheap hobby! There’s always new stuff that you need (not just want). I’m a magpie and love to hoard anything pretty, sparkly and so sometimes I buy things that I end up never using but I just love them and don’t want to get rid of. However, my craft room is now so cluttered that I’m crafting on the dining room table so I know that I have to get down to clearing it soon!

LIFE AS A SENIOR CITIZEN!

Life at the moment is great, I am now a fully-fledged Senior Citizen! Although I retired from work in 2011 (6 months before my 60th and after my mum left me enough money to get by on for a year), I actually only officially retired on 6 September. I had been counting the months down to retiring for years. I was told by the Government that my official retirement date would be when I was 61 years 8 months and 27 days old! It was imprinted on my brain LOL! I was actually on holiday on the day and celebrated with a glass of sangria!

Now I just look forward to getting my pension every 4 weeks (plus my company pension, which is very small, every 3 months) and being able to see a healthier balance in my bank. My savings are now not being raided on a regular basis and luckily I don’t earn enough to pay tax, so all my savings (including ISAs) have tax-free interest! Yay! Have told the kids that they will only have the house when their dad and I are gone as we’re going to live as well as we can (obviously not going mad) on what we’ve got coming in. John can’t retire till he’s 65 so that’s 3 years away and work is very slow at the moment but we economise where we can and we can survive!

We make use of moneysavingexpert.com, WHICH?, and comparison websites and get the best deals we can on everything. We’ve just done our electricity/gas and as luck would have it, our current supplier turned out to be our best bet for a 2 year fix (and they’ve not put up their charges yet so that’s a result). If we buy things on-line we use QUIDCO.com and I’ve got a Nectar card so it all helps.

Our wills have been updated to include our new baby grandson and we are now all set to make sure everyone is included.

The only problems we have though are health ones! We both have mild arthritis in our necks, we both have tinnitus – although John’s is really bad and he has an appointment at the hospital about it, I’m diabetic and have other odd things wrong but in spite of it all, we know that we are lucky to be where we are, own home, a car, holidays and most of all, we have an amazing family and brilliant friends so we don’t fear getting older, don’t like the idea of it, but it comes to us all eventually.

So, here endeth my blog for this month! Will put some pictures up in the next one, promise! LOL! Now on the countdown to Halloween and Christmas (oh and my birthday in December!).